How Pilates Can Help After Hip Replacement




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Published December 1, 2021

Is hip replacement surgery advisable?

There are almost 50,000 hip replacement procedures performed every year in Australia—and this number is rising. Arthritis is the most common reason for requiring a hip replacement, but it can also be a result of other conditions including injuries and congenital defects. Whatever the cause, going through a hip replacement is a huge adjustment. Up to 90% of hip replacement patients find some relief from pain and range of motion after surgery. However, every person is different, and it is a long process. Recovery can take months, even years.  

pilates hip replacement

Whatever the case, it is expected that the patient will experience balance issues and joint stiffness post-surgery. Doctor approved exercises designed to restore and maintain mobility are important to encourage the healing process and ensure optimal outcome. For instance, Pilates exercises for hip replacement offer so many benefits in strengthening the joint before and after the operation.  

hip and knee replacement by age

Total hip and knee replacements by age: Source AIHW

How Pilates Can Help

Pilates after hip replacement has been used as an evidence-based rehabilitation technique for decades.

It works by facilitating exercises that safely encourage alignment, body awareness, strength, and flexibility. Pilates exercises are proven to increase muscle strength. When recovering from a hip replacement, Pilates can improve the strength of muscles which support the hip, increasing your control over your new hip and joints. 

Depending on how long you have suffered hip problems, it is likely that other areas of the body have been compensating for the hip. These muscle habits need to be rebuilt to maximise the movement and health of the body. As Pilates exercises are designed to improve body alignment, Pilates is a great way to develop optimal muscle patterns and correct imbalances. Not only will your strength and mobility improve, you may notice a reduction in pain from muscles or joints that weren’t functioning optimally. 

A comprehensive Pilates rehabilitation program may also assist in improving your confidence. The body goes through a lot of changes from pre to post-surgery. Pilates encourages you to reconnect with your body and understand how your muscles and joints move. By developing this deep understanding and connection, your confidence in your body’s movement will begin to grow. A professional Pilates studio is a safe and social place to rebuild hip strength and mobility post-surgery. 

Having a safe place to exercise, after major surgery, can also offer mental and social health benefits. 

Case Study

Denise has been doing Pilates to maintain her health and wellness since 2005.

Denise started experiencing symptoms of an ailing hip, such as pain and finding it difficult to move. In the months following, her condition was having a big impact on her normal, everyday activities so a more proactive treatment was the next logical step. Denise underwent a hip replacement surgery in February 2019, and included Pilates in her rehabilitation plan. She credits Pilates for preparing her body prior to surgery. It helped improve her body awareness and her movement patterns thus reducing her pain. She believes that Pilates is one of the major reasons why she got through the rehabilitation phase quicker.

Denise is all praise for her Pilates Can instructors for having a rehab program ready as soon as it was safe for her to get back to Pilates. She finds that her instructors had a very clear understanding of what she could and could not do and worked closely with her at every stage. Thanks to Pilates, Denise made excellent progress and was back to doing her normal routine tasks within just a couple of months. She continues to enjoy and practice Pilates and says she recommends this form of exercise to anyone who is considering it for their hip replacement rehabilitation.

Hip Replacement Rehabilitation Pilates Can

We recommend our private-to-semi-private Pilates for those who are pre-or-post a hip replacement.

The 2x private sessions allow our experienced instructors to assess your movement and develop a thorough Pilates program to target your individual needs. You then can progress to semi-private sessions where you can continue to work through your individual program and your instructor can make adjustments as needed. Pilates can be used to prepare you for your hip replacement, and to rehabilitate and redevelop healthy movement patterns post-surgery.  

About the author 

Claire Gunther is a PAA Principal Level Pilates Instructor with over 20 years and 20k+ hours of professional Pilates delivery experience.


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